In continuing with Madiba’s legacy of ‘changing the way society treats its children and youth,’ the Fund saw it fit to advocate against the increasing number of sexual violence cases in schools and assist in creating safer environments in schools, especially for girls.
As part of the Mandela Month commemorations, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (the Fund) hosted a 3-day symposium at the Wits Education Campus from Monday, 10 July until Wednesday, 12 July 2017 focusing on the wellbeing of the girl child and their immediate environments.
Throughout the symposium children were encouraged to bring issues that affect them within their immediate environment to the forefront. The Fund’s CEO – Sibongile Mkhabela, National Prosecuting Authority – Ms T.S Xakaza, Department of Education - Mr Malefetsane Mofokeng, Department of Social Development - David Chabalala, together with representatives from the SAPS and UN Women South Africa were some of those that responded to issues raised by the children’s issues.
Some of the issues raised by children included:
Access to Education
Below are some of the comments made by children on the issues above:
Pit toilets, lack of proper sanitation and sanitary pads are some of the issues that cause girl children to get infections or miss school during their maturational cycle. The Clicks Helping Hand Trust donated sanitary packs to all girls attending the symposium and various implementing partners in need.#NMCFGirlsSymposium2017 #Access2Education #SafetyInSchools
Raiufhe Munaka & Kamokgelo Madzivhandila - Limpopo
Every school should have a social worker, teachers lack crucial skills that are important for dealing with challenges kids face.
Safe Schools= learners feel safe and free in the school (elaborate on this point)
Scholar patrols = learners feel safe at schools & are assisted when crossing major roads
Peace clubs = Help encourage educational activities among children & keep them away from the streets( this is not clear)
Respondent: Department of Education - Mr Malefetsane Mofokeng
Department of Education has a 'Schools Safety Strategy' in place to deal with issues of safety in schools.
Issue of over-aged learners:
Policy that should be followed is to retain learners only two times in one phase and not longer than that. From then onward other alternative interventions should be sought out.
Issue of Corporal Punishment:
Classroom Management Policy document gives guidelines on other alternative measures of punishment.
As part of positive change and motivation, Michelle Nkamankeng, a little girl who wrote two books at the age of 6 gave a motivational talk towards the end of the symposium.
"Girl Children like myself are scared in this country...therefore I would like to encourage all girl children to learn to speak out & not be afraid" - Michelle Nkamankeng.
“Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation” Nelson Mandela.
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